Indonesia is planning to give working-age adults the COVID-19 vaccine before the elderly get their shots in an effort to quickly reach herd immunity.

Indonesia’s health minister estimated some 181.5 million people, or 67 percent of the population, would need to get shots to reach herd immunity.

The country, which is using China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine, also says it doesn’t have enough data yet on how the shot effects older people because clinical trials were conducted in those aged 18 to 59. Indonesia is also expecting to receive the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines soon.

The country’s approach is very different to the US, which is prioritizing health care workers and senior citizens with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Dale Fisher, a professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, said be believes both approaches could work.

“Younger working adults are generally more active, more social and travel more so this strategy should decrease community transmission faster than vaccinating older individuals,” Fisher told Reuters.

“Of course older people are more at risk of severe disease and death so vaccinating those has an alternative rationale. I see merit in both strategies.”

With Post wires

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